Hello all! Today I'm going to examine our backup quarterback situation (mainly Derek Anderson). This is going to be a post more about the future than this past season. Derek Anderson was a surprise signing during the post-lockout free agent frenzy. At the time, we had Number One overall draft pick Cam Newton, 2010 2nd rounder Jimmy Clausen, and 2010 6th rounder Tony Pike. Whispers had been made about guys like Billy Volek, the long time veteran players who could mentor Cam Newton, and start if need be. However, Derek Anderson didn't really fit the mold, especially after his famous 2010 post-game meltdown. The only reason I wasn't AS surprised by this signing was the prior knowledge of Chudzinski and Anderson's history in Cleveland. So the question is, do we keep a guy like Derek Anderson around or let him go for a younger, more Newton-esque quarterback, or sign a mentor who will be around for 1-3 years tops.
More on Derek Anderson, after the jump
There aren't any highlights for Derek Anderson in the regular season (minus the classic celebrations with Cam). However, in the preseason we saw Derek Anderson's understanding of the offense.
1. Derek Anderson hits rookie wide receiver Kealoha Pilares for a 35 yard touchdown off a bubble screen. We got a good look at just how fast Pilares was, and what he could be in the NFL. Derek Anderson finished the game 3 of 4 for 71 yards and a TD against the New York Giants.
2. Derek Anderson's second and last game in which he attempted a pass, he hits David Clowney for a 41 yard TD way downfield. Anderson finished the game 11 of 19 for 192 yards and a TD against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sure, Preseason stats are virtually meaningless at the end of a season, but Anderson was a consistent player in his two games played. Anderson showed he can still play. Unfortunately for him, Cam Newton is our quarterback.
Anderson is set to be a free agent in 2012. If we choose to resign him, his contract would be for $1,300,000. That would seem a little steep for a backup quarterback. However, Anderson has shown tremendous success in the Chudzinski style of offense. Anderson only played one year with Chudzinski, but he made the Pro Bowl in that time, logging career highs in wins, touchdowns, and passing yards. His stats were as follows: 298 completions out of 527 attempts, 3787 yards, 29 touchdowns to 18 interceptions. And here's the big one; 10 wins. Anderson was the first Browns quarterback since 1994 to win 10 games. He not only showed that the Chudzinski offense is effective, but that it can win games. We also saw that Anderson was a system quarterback, after 3 miserable years without Chudzinski directing his team's offense. So the question is, folks, do we keep a guy who has shown he can win with our offense if Cam Newton were to go down with injury, or do we let him go for either a older and cheaper veteran, or a younger, more Newton-esque quarterback?
The X-Factor: Jimmy Clausen
Its certainly an interesting situation with Jimmy Clausen. He was our third quarterback all year, and wasn't active at all during the regular season.
Many of us know the story. He was our 2010 second round pick out of Notre Dame, played in 10 games with miserable statistics. He threw 3 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, and only won one game. He was also sacked 33 times as a rookie, roughly 3 times per game. However, he did show promise in the preseason, after some beautiful throws to Lafell and Olsen in his first game. But, he fell to Cam Newton, as well all pretty much knew at that point. The question with him is can he step in and allow us to win games if Cam goes down? With both guys, we lose the option dimension of our offense and the quarterback runs. So we would be more dependent on our running backs and the passing game to win. Anderson has the arm we want, but Clausen can hit the throws, and he could potentially be a pretty decent backup if his problems can be coached out of him. Number one thing is he panics under pressure, and can hold on to the ball too long. But here's one thing that might keep him around; he's set to make $490,000 this season. That's not even half of what Anderson is asking for. So the question is, do we keep Clausen, who is a young player who can still reclaim a career, or do we let him go? Because inevitably, one of them will probably be gone this offseason.
In addition to Clausen's presence, there have been whispers of the Carolina Panthers possibly being interested in drafting Wisconsin quarterback Russell Wilson.
|2011 - Russell Wilson||14||103.0||225||309||72.8||3175||226.8||10.3||33||4||79||338||24.1||4.3||6||-||-|
Wilson has always been a rushing threat, logging at least 4 rushing touchdowns and a rough average of 350 yards per season. However, he was truly on point in his final season. If the Panthers do pull the trigger, look for it to be in the later rounds.
In conclusion, our backup quarterback controversy is far from over. Every team prefers to have a guy who can run the offense the same way it had been run by the starter. The question is, do we stick with the experience in the scheme, sign a veteran, let young Clausen take over as the backup, or draft a guy with a similar skillset to Cam Newton? What are your thoughts Panthers fans?